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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-30
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, October 30, 2008
DR CONGO: TOP HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL APPEALS FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS;
CONGOLESE SEEKING REFUGE IN UGANDA
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that the situation in Goma today is relatively calm after a night of fierce shooting and widespread looting. Security restrictions on the agencys movements are extremely tight and it has no access to the sites for internally displaced persons outside Goma.
UNHCR also reports that many Congolese are fleeing the fighting in areas north of Goma and headed towards Uganda looking for safety. The agencys team at the border says that, today, some 8,000 entered Uganda at the Busanza border crossing. Most of them are staying with host families and in public buildings, such as schools and churches. But around 2,000 of the refugees have opted to be transferred to the Nakivale refugee settlement further inside Uganda.
Most of the refugees in Uganda are dispersed over a large area, and the first major challenge, besides water and sanitation, will be the provision of food, as the area generally depends on local food imports from the DRC, UNHCR says.
UNHCR also reports that another 1,200 Congolese refugees fled to Rwanda and spent Tuesday night in a school. They did not want to be registered by UNHCR or transported to the transit centre. A UNHCR team distributed aid. Most of those refugees have since moved on -- either back to Goma to check on their properties and families left behind or on to Uganda or relatives houses in Rwanda.
The World Food Programme (WFP)
reports that it was able to distribute food to key nutritional centres and hospitals inside Goma yesterday.
Meanwhile, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes has called on the Government, civilians and all armed groups in the area, in the strongest terms, to protect civilians and to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations.
We all hope that yesterdays ceasefire will quickly help to restore minimum security conditions and allow humanitarian actors to work with civilian authorities to assess needs and mount emergency operations to address them, Holmes said. Unconditional access, and respect for the independence, impartiality and neutrality of humanitarians as they go about their essential work have to be a top priority.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS OFFENSIVE IN THE EASTERN DR CONGO
The Security Council, in a presidential
statement last night, condemned the recent offensive of the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP) in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and demanded its immediate end.
In the statement read by Security Council President, Ambassador Zhang Yesui of China, the Council also welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire by the groups leader, Laurent Nkunda, and looked to him for the ceasefires effective and lasting implementation.
The Council urged all parties to fully respect their obligations to protect civilians and to ensure humanitarian workers. It called on the UN mission (MONUC) to take robust actions to protect civilians at risk and to deter any attempt to threaten the political process by any armed group.
Expressing concern at reports of heavy weapons fire across the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, the Council also called on the authorities in both countries to take concrete steps to defuse tensions and restore stability in the region, calling also on all Governments in the region to cease all support to armed groups.
In regard to reinforcement of MONUC, the Council said it would expeditiously study the request of the Secretariat for that action in view of developments of the situation on the ground.
BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY CONDEMNS BOMBINGS IN INDIA
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
expresses his deep sorrow and sympathy to the Government and people of India for the loss of life and destruction caused by today's series of bombings in the North-East of the country.
He strongly condemns this act of terrorism targeting civilians. There can be absolutely no justification for such indiscriminate violence.
SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN VISIT TO NEW DELHI, HIGHLIGHTS INDIAS GROWING U.N. ROLE
The Secretary-General is in New Delhi today, where he delivered a speech at the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, saying of the UN-India relationship, Ours is an indispensable partnership.
He noted that, 63 years ago today, India became a UN Member State. Since then, its role has grown, so that, as of the end of last month, India was the third biggest contributor to peacekeeping, with more than 8,700 personnel at work for peace. India is also an indispensable partner in UN efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and promote sustainable development, he added.
The Secretary-General also discussed climate change with a group of leading Chief Executive Officers of Indian businesses. This evening, he is meeting over dinner with the countrys Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES THE MALDIVES ON FIRST MULTI-PARTY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
congratulates the people of the Maldives on the peaceful conduct of their nations first multi-party Presidential election, which marked an important step forward in the countrys democratic reform process.
He commends both the outgoing President and the President-elect for their statesmanship, and urges them to continue to work together to ensure a smooth transition of power.
The Secretary-General encourages all parties to work in a cooperative manner and continue to carry forward the reform process aimed at achieving a more open and democratic Maldives.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION 1559 ON LEBANON
Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Implementation of
Resolution 1559, concerning Lebanon, briefed the Security Council this morning, four years after that resolutions passage. He said that he was glad to report on major strides over the past six months towards the full implementation of the resolution, including the election of a new President and high-level talks between Syria and Lebanon.
Roed-Larsen said that we look forward to the opening of embassies in Beirut and Damascus by the end of this year. The Secretary-General, he said, applauds the historic steps that have been taken so far by the Lebanese and Syrian Presidents.
He said that the Secretary-General is convinced that the disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias should take place through a political process that will lead to the monopoly on the use of force by the Government of Lebanon throughout all of its territory.
The Security Council followed its open meeting with consultations, also on Lebanon.
Yesterday, the Security Council adopted a
Presidential Statement on women, peace and security, at the end of its formal meeting on that topic. The Council called on the Secretary-General to appoint more women to senior positions, particularly as Special Representatives and Special Envoys. It also strongly condemned all violations of international law committed against women and girls during and after armed conflicts.
AFRICAN UNION-UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN DARFUR STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACK ON PEACEKEEPERS
The African Union United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) strongly condemns the latest attack on UN peacekeepers there as a cowardly act of wanton violence and will spare no efforts to identify and arrest the culprits who will be held accountable for their crime.
Yesterday, at approximately 6 p.m, soldiers from the UNAMID South African contingent securing a water point near the Kassab Internally Displaced Persons Camp, in North Darfur, came under attack from unidentified men who arrived in several heavily armed vehicles.
One peacekeeper was killed and another wounded as a result of this murderous attack. Both the injured female soldier and the body of the peacekeeper who died were evacuated to El Fasher.
UNAMID troops have been sent to reinforce the attacked location, search for the assailants and conduct an investigation.
SOMALIA: U.N. COORDINATOR PAYS TRIBUTE TO STAFF MEMBERS KILLED IN CAR BOMB ATTACK
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, today paid tribute to the two UN staff members who died in the car bomb attack of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) compound in Hargeisa yesterday. He offered his deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the two Somali staff a local security adviser and a driver for the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
The condition of the two staff members with serious injuries who were evacuated to Djibouti for immediate medical attention is now reported as stable. The United Nations is currently moving other staff who are in need of further medical attention and counseling support to Nairobi. Essential staff who are involved in life-saving assistance will remain in Hargeisa, with restricted movements.
U.N. AGENCIES RESPOND TO PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE
Responding to yesterdays earthquake in Pakistans Balochistan Province, the World Food Programme is to
provide food assistance to nearly 20,000 people who lost their homes and belongings. The initial distribution of 700 tons of dry food rations from warehouses in Quetta and Peshawar will include two months worth of wheat flour, pulses, edible oil and salt.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is
sending enough essential medicines and supplies for 50,000 people for three months. WHO is also flying trauma supplies from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai.
IMF LAUNCHES EMERGENCY SHORT-TERM LENDING PROGRAMME: In an effort to combat the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has
created an emergency short-term lending programme for economically sound emerging market countries that are facing temporary liquidity problems. Once a loan has been approved, there will be no conditions attached, such as monitoring or policy adjustments.
WORLD BANK HELPS BANGLADESH COPE WITH FOOD CRISIS: The World Bank has
provided a US$130 million credit to help Bangladesh respond to the food crisis. According to World Bank, the financial crisis pushed four million people back into poverty in Bangladesh. The financing is designed to ease the pressure on the countrys current budget, which is staggering from growing food-related spending.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF WELCOMES DEVELOPMENTS IN COLOMBIA:
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today welcomed the measures announced on Wednesday by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, whose Government dismissed three army generals and 24 other officers and non-commissioned officers over alleged extrajudicial killings. I support the commitment expressed by the highest civilian and military authorities that progress in security should be achieved with full adherence to legality and respect for human rights, Pillay said in a statement issued during her current visit to Colombia.
U.N. LAUNCHES APPEAL FOR HONDURAS IN WAKE OF EXTENSIVE FLOODING: The U.N. and partners have
launched a flash appeal for flood relief in Honduras. US$17 million in funding is sought to provide food, shelter, health care, water and sanitation to roughly 270,000 people.
Heavy rains resulting from a tropical depression have inundated Honduras for more than two weeks.
STATES PARTIES TO DISABILITIES CONVENTION TO MEET FOR FIRST TIME AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS: States Parties to the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in May, will
meet at U.N. Headquarters for the first time tomorrow and Monday. The meeting will formally establish the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and elect its members. The Committee will initially be made up of 12 independent experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention.
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